Nine women and 14 men publicly flogged in Sar-e-Pul
Photo: Social Media

Global Human Rights Body Asks Taliban to Halt Public Flogging

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called upon the Taliban authorities to immediately cease all forms of corporal punishment, including public flogging, emphasizing that such actions are a clear violation of international human rights law.

In a statement released on Wednesday, June 5, UN Human Rights spokesperson Jeremy Laurence expressed concern over the “continued and widespread” use of corporal punishment by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“We are deeply disturbed by the widespread, continued use of corporal punishment in Afghanistan,” part of the statement reads. “Corporal punishment is a clear violation of international human rights law,” it added.

“Afghanistan is party to both the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Under international law, all people have the right to be treated with respect for their inherent human dignity and equality.”

Following their return to power in Afghanistan in 2021, the Taliban has made corporal punishment a central component of its penal system. Since then, the regime has publicly flogged dozens of individuals, including women, for various charges across Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the Taliban continues to carry out public executions of Afghans on various charges. The regime has publicly executed at least five people in the country over the past years.

In a recent incident on June 4th, the Taliban publicly flogged at least 63 people, including 15 women, in a sports stadium in Afghanistan’s northern Sar-e-Pol province for various alleged crimes, including “running away from home” and “moral crimes.”

Likewise, in late May, the group publicly flogged eight individuals, including four women, at a stadium in central Ghor province for charges related to “adultery” and “running away from home.”

According to the OHCHR statement, women who are publicly punished for adultery and other alleged moral crimes face heightened risks of violence from both their families and communities after infliction of these prohibited forms of punishment.

The UN Office for Human Rights also calls upon the Taliban authorities to ensure full respect for due process and fair trial rights, emphasizing the significance of access to legal representation for anyone facing criminal charges.

The recent public floggings of Afghans by the Taliban for alleged moral crimes have sparked widespread criticism and condemnation from the United Nations.

On June 5th, Richard Bennet, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan, condemned the widespread flogging of both men and women in Sar-e-Pol and Ghor provinces, urging the Taliban authorities to cease these actions immediately.

In a post on social media, Mr. Bennett emphasized that the Taliban’s public corporal punishment violates Afghanistan’s obligation to prohibit torture and other cruel and inhuman forms of punishment.

Furthermore, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also denounced the recent public flogging by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, emphasizing the importance of upholding international human rights obligations.

However, the Taliban argues that it enforces Sharia law in Afghanistan, accusing other countries and rights groups of either lacking sufficient understanding of Islamic laws or having biases against Islam.